Status: Full Game, Findability: 3/5

In the early 80’s, the Dutch games scene for the C64 was blessed by the coding talents of a guy called John Vanderaart – who was pretty prolific!  Outside of Holland, sadly we didn’t get to see many titles – but did get to see Eindeloos and Hopeless released by Ariolasoft.

Back in Holland, John was most famous for his Dutch text-adventures (with “De Sekte” being probably his best known).  He stopped programming on the C64 back around 1987/88 and left the game development scene pretty much soon after.  Sadly he doesn’t like to talk much about the old days (a sadly familiar tale with many!)

One of the very last games that John produced was a title called Aurum in 1987, which was a large adventure based on one of his first adventure games “Steen der Wijzen” (Magic Stone).  It was reviewed in a dutch computer magazine at the time, but has been the subject of a large scale search for many years.  Rumors spread that the game may not exist at all!

It is a huge shame, as the game itself sounded pretty superb with some great graphics throughout.  Is it one that can ever be saved?

Well, after months of work – the collaborated efforts of Paul Koller, Ralph Egas, Fix, Pugsy, Enthusi, Jazzcat and Scout have seen Aurum miraculously saved from obscurity.   It is by pure chance that the game was preserved thanks to the efforts of Paul…

Somewhere in the beginning of 2014, I again did an internet search for Aurum and Vanderaart and actually found a hit from an old newsgroup from 1999 from a guy who actually claimed he owned this game!

I looked him up on Facebook and contacted him. Ralph Egas is also a big C64-fan and I actually visited him yesterday talking about all kinds of C64 stuff. And indeed, he owns a copy of Aurum. Well, his copy was actually “copied” at a dutch audiovisual conference “Firato” in the 80s, where a friend of his (Conno van Wijk) met John Vanderaart. While talking to him, John said he was getting a drink and Conno was allowed to look through his personal disk-collection. And there Aurum was “secretly” copied. Conno and a friend put a VERY simple intro in front and also “tagged” the original title screen as a kind of joke (no real scener apparently :) ). This version was given to Ralph who copied it to a d64 file and sent it to me yesterday and I played it today for the 1st time. It’s a really nicely put together adventure, although not very useful if you don’t know dutch :)”

The game was passed over for fixing and translation, and finally the game is now ready to be shown to the world.  Originally intended for release by Radarsoft – just why it never got released is a mystery.  But check it out finally for yourself!

Case closed!

Contributions: Paul Koller, Ralph Egas, Fix, Pugsy, Enthusi, Jazzcat, Scout, Edwin Drost

Supporting content

Available downloads

Update history

30/06/14 – Dutch version added.

11 Responses to Aurum

  1. You know…I actually found it completely by accident, but there was even a map of Aurum in the “adventurerubriek” article in the Dutch magazine called “Commodore Dossier aktief” of 1988-april!


    • Thanks for the heads up – that is very strange! Must have been done from a review copy and then just assumed the game would be released at some stage and produced the map?

  2. By accident googling my name I saw this post.
    Great that this game is out. Only I don’t seem to find out how to view it. I will surely look how to do it. Two years ago I threw away all my thousands disks of D64, only kept the Reference Guide. sorry guys. I also could not load the game and the graphics anymore I’ve made. So I am really wondering how my graphics were those days. (is it possible to post some screencaptures?) It was Fun to create the graphics those days on my KoalaPad I got it as present from John. I don’t know the whole story anymore of the adventure. I did my inspiration for creating the visuals from old comic books The red Night.( I created two games with John. Nachtwacht and this game.

    • Hi Ron,

      Good to hear from you! There are screenshots towards the bottom of the review under “Gallery”. You can also download the full game under the “Downloads” tab and load up the game in a C64 emulator package.

      Hope you enjoy taking a look! :)

    • Ron ik was destijds met John bij iemand langsgeweest in Heemstede die bezig was
      met de GFX voor een text adventuregame op de C64. Aurum als ik het goed begrijp.

      In dat geval leuk om je hier weer tegen te komen!!!

  3. I really hope this game surfaces, haven’t been able to find it online yet. I have good memories regarding this game, it definitely exists since I completed it when it was released. In Dutch only, but that’s an easy language, have been speaking it all my life ;)

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